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“No to Putinism” March in Yerevan with Flags of Armenia, Ukraine, and EU (VIDEO)

A few dozen people gathered under the slogan "No to Putinism" on May 18 and marched from Liberty Square to the Russian Embassy in Yerevan. According to the organizers, the march was organized against the Kremlin's "inhuman and occupant policy," the pressure on Armenia to join the Russian-led Customs Union, and Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin's "anti-democratic statement," with the aim of calling him a persona non grata. 

The initiative supported a number of protests against Putinism by Russian democratic forces held in several major cities. Participants of the march in Yerevan carried the flags of Armenia, the EU, and Ukraine; as well as portraits of Volodya Avetisyan and Shant Harutyunyan — Armenian activists believed to be imprisoned for their political views.

One of the organizers of the demonstration, former Soviet dissident, Union for National Self-Determination party leader Paruyr Hayrikyan, speaking with journalists in Liberty Square, said those who think this initiative is "anti-Russian" are mistaken. He said those gathered comprise the democratic forces of the entire world, who today organized marches against Putinism in different cities. According to him, Putin is a tyrant and an evil for all, including for the Russian people. 

Police forces blocked demonstrators from protesting on the sidewalk outside the Russian Embassy. For about 20 minutes organizers negotiated with the police, saying that the march is authorized and they have the right to protest directly outside the embassy. During this time, some of the police officers spoke with demonstrators in a disrespectful manner, one of them saying to a protestor: "You are still too young to be able to say something to me."  

One of the organizers of the demonstration, Vrej Zatikyan, announced that police officers also support the Putin regime. Demonstrators who held Ukraine's flag began to chant in Russian, "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!" (one of the slogans of Ukraine's Maidan).

Ultimately, police officers unblocked the road, and demonstrators got closer to the Russian Embassy building.